PROVIDENCE BAY – The 2019 edition of the Providence Bay Fair was bittersweet for the fair board and agricultural society as they mourned the loss of one of their one, Adam McDonald, who passed away after a battle with cancer on June 9 of this year.
On Saturday, to mark the beginning of the heavy horse pull event, announcer Carol Gilmore asked all in attendance to stand and remove their caps in a moment of silence to remember the late Mr. McDonald, director of the horse pulls and a long-time member of the agricultural society.
Ms. Gilmore recalled Mr. McDonald’s many good works with the fair, and the horse pulls in particular—something near and dear to his heart. She then called up long-time horse puller Kevin Gilbert of Purple Valley and presented him with a special clock and pen piece in honour of his many years of dedication to the Providence Bay Fair horse pulls. Mr. Gilbert has not missed a pull since 1994 when the Prov Fair began hosting these events.
“I know that Adam is watching over us today because we started out with rain this morning and ended up with sun this afternoon, just in time for the pull,” Ms. Gilmore said.
In the heavy horse pull event, Pike Lake’s Greg Pyette took the top spot with his 4,400-pound team that pulled 12,000 pounds 14’ 9”. In that same event, Wiikwemkoong’s Gerald Webkamigad took the light team division (3,180 pounds) with his pull of 11,250 pounds.
The Best Teamster Award went to Brendan Gilbert, Kevin Gilbert’s son, while the Best Dressed Award went to Wiikwemkoong’s Stan Osawamick and his mules.
The following day, Sunday, in the light horse pull, Kevin Gilbert took first place with his horse Paint—a horse that had never pulled before that weekend and that he had only purchased a few days before. The first-timer pulled an impressive 4,750 pounds, with ease.
Providence Bay Agricultural Society secretary/treasurer Dawn Dawson noted that the board lost two members this year—Mr. McDonald and Lavina Galbraith. Ms. Galbraith passed away over the winter at age 90, but was still lending a hand at the fair last August.
Ms. Dawson said Mr. McDonald’s passing has had an effect on the board. “He was so young and so involved,” she said, explaining that the moment of silence was not just held in the horse ring but throughout the fair as the musicians stopped playing and the midway music also went quiet.
Indeed, Mr. McDonald and his fellow board members past and present will have a legacy at the fair for years to come.